Flowering and fruiting patterns in a subtropical rain forest, Taiwan
Reproductive patterns of tropical and temperate plants are usually associated with climatic seasonality, such as rainfall or temperature, and with their phylogeny. It is still unclear, however, whether plant reproductive phenology is influenced by climatic factors and/or phylogeny in aseasonal subtropical regions. The plant reproductive phenology of a subtropical rain forest in northern Taiwan (24°45′ N, 121°35′ E) was monitored at weekly intervals during a 7‐yr period (2002–2009). The flowering patterns of 46 taxa and fruiting patterns of 26 taxa were examined and evaluated in relation to climatic seasonality, phylogenetic constraints, and different phenophases. Our results indicated that most of the studied species reproduced annually. Additionally, both community‐wide flowering and fruiting patterns exhibited distinct annual rhythms and varied little among years. The community flowering peak matched seasonal changes in day length, temperature, and irradiance; while the community fruiting peak coincided with an increase in bird richness and the diet‐switching of resident omnivorous birds. In addition, phylogenetically closely related species tended to reproduce during the same periods of a year. Neither the mean flowering dates nor seasonal variation in solar radiation, however, was related to the fruit development times. Our results indicate the importance of abiotic, biotic, and evolutionary factors in determining the reproductive phenology in this subtropical forest.